Construction at the Singapore integrated refining and petrochemical complex
The Singapore Resid Upgrade Project is revolutionizing the base stocks industry

Preparing for 2025: The Singapore base stocks expansion project progresses with latest milestones

ExxonMobil’s resid upgrade project in Singapore is revolutionizing the base stocks industry. With construction well underway at the project site, our high-pressure reactors stand tall at over 52 meters, with some as tall as an 18-story building, and are truly a sight to behold.

The project’s size and scale are truly remarkable, but what sets it apart is the highly advanced processes within the equipment. We are introducing state-of-the-art proprietary technology specifically designed to convert resid into higher-value fuels and base stocks.

Through this pioneering approach, we are set to expand large-scale production of the EHC™ 50 base stock, bring our heavy neutral EHC 120 base stock to the Asia-Pacific region and introduce our new EHC 340 MAX™ base stock globally. This project is not just about transforming our manufacturing site; it is about transforming the industry and addressing the world's increasing need for higher-performance lubricants.

"We're reinforcing our commitment to the industry by working hand in hand with our customers," said Khalid Ashraf, Venture Executive and Project Director for ExxonMobil Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd. "We are continuing to deliver value to our customers through innovation and technology — which this project exemplifies."

With a 26-year career at ExxonMobil, of which more than half has been spent in Singapore, Ashraf now leads the Singapore Resid Upgrade Project. He and his team have been working hard toward the project’s safe and successful completion.

"In my role, I am accountable for delivering every facet of this project," Ashraf shared. "From engaging with our customers, overseeing construction and commissioning to working with the refinery on the startup, producing high-quality products and ultimately handing over operations to the Singapore Complex, it’s been an exciting time, and I'm proud to be part of this transformative project."

The final reactor goes up for ExxonMobil’s Singapore Resid Upgrade Project
The project team erects the project’s final reactor

Marking the end of the module fabrication phase

A significant milestone was reached earlier this year when our team received its final construction module, marking the end of the module fabrication phase. Ashraf describes this achievement as one of the team's "largest accomplishments" to date.

Module fabrication, a practice that involves constructing project components at an off-site location and subsequently shipping them in sections, was one of the productivity initiatives on the project. Approximately 40 percent of the Singapore Resid Upgrade Project was constructed overseas. More than 70 modules, ranging in size from a few hundred tons to over 4,000 tons, were transported in 20 shipments.

Modularization was a key element of the execution strategy, according to Ashraf. This approach has not only propelled the project forward but also ensured optimal resource allocation and streamlined execution.

Khalid Ashraf, Venture Executive and Project Director for ExxonMobil Asia Pacific, stands in front of on-site construction
Khalid Ashraf at the Singapore project site

New tech and next steps

Catalysts play a critical role in the base stock manufacturing process, enabling the reactors to convert bottom-of-the-barrel fuels into higher-value products, like low-sulfur diesel and EHC 50, EHC 120 and EHC 340 MAX base stocks. Preparation work for catalyst loading is underway.

As a whole, the project will deliver a unique combination of new, proprietary ExxonMobil technologies to upgrade and convert fuel oil into higher-value products. These technologies, with ExxonMobil's proprietary analytical techniques used to discern base stock compositional details, are what make the Singapore Resid Upgrade Project special.

“This project underscores our capability to develop and execute complex mega projects. It doubles down on our competitive advantages including technology,” Ashraf noted.

The team is currently preparing for the next phase of the project, which will be pre-commissioning. This phase involves testing several of the site’s capabilities, such as performing testing on equipment and circuits. It's an important step toward the successful completion of the project.

"After that comes commissioning, when we actually put energy into our systems," Ashraf explained. "This will involve various processes, like running steam through the project's piping to clean the internal surface."

Commissioning is the final step before feedstocks are introduced into the facility. Once hydrocarbons have entered the facility, startup is officially underway and the operations team will be focused on producing high-quality products that meet the needs of our customers.

Construction at the Singapore integrated refining and petrochemical complex
Progress continues on the Singapore Resid Upgrade Project

The perfect location for the project

The demand for high-quality lubricants in the automotive and industrial sectors is on the rise worldwide, especially in the Asia-Pacific region. To match this demand, ExxonMobil is increasing production capacity at its integrated manufacturing complex in Singapore by an additional 20,000 barrels of base stocks per day.

"This means that the Singapore Resid Upgrade Project will expand large-scale production of our global EHC Base Stock Slate to meet the needs of customers, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region where we are seeing the most growth in the industry,” Ashraf explained.

The Singapore Resid Upgrade Project will further strengthen the competitiveness of the complex and global supply of base stocks, which is good news for our customers worldwide.

The Singapore Resid Upgrade Project is a testament to our commitment to innovation and progress

Empowering customers through state-of-the-art technology

ExxonMobil Basestocks is committed to its customers above all else. By expanding manufacturing capacity, we are optimizing our supply chain and simplifying logistics, which helps ensure our customers receive their orders on time. By investing in state-of-the-art technology and processes like those at our Singapore site, we can develop the high-performing base stocks that customers need to formulate the next generation of lubricants.

The Singapore Resid Upgrade Project sets both ExxonMobil and its customers up for success. Access to a harmonized slate of base stocks — including our EHC 50, EHC 120 and EHC 340 MAX products — enables efficiencies for lubricant manufacturers worldwide, giving them more time to plan for the future. According to Ashraf, the project is going to be “a true game changer.”

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